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Mythical Beasts!
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Customers of a riverside pub in Devon were blessed with the chance to watch a pair of otters fishing just a few yards from where they supped their pints.

Mythical Beasts!

Otter myths from around the world
  • King Solomon's Judgement - Indonesian Fable
  • Taliesin - Celtic Influence
  • The Death of Cuchulain - Celtic Influence
  • Volsunga Saga - Norse Code
  • Reginsmal - Norse Code
  • Trickster - Aboriginal Mythology
  • Waikas - Winnebago Indians
  • Creation Myth - Wyandot Indians
  • Creation Myth - Midewin Indians

  • Indonesian Fable

    King Solomon's Judgement

    One day, when the mouse deer was dancing, he accidentaly stepped on the otter's child and killed him.

    Why was the mouse deer dancing?
    Because he heard the music of war drum.

    Why was the war drum played?
    Because the woodpecker pecked it, after he saw the gecko used his sword.

    Why did the gecko use his sword?
    Because he saw the turtle wore his shell.

    Why?
    Because the turtle saw the crab aimed his trident.

    Why?
    Because the crab saw the river shrimp carried his spear.

    Why?
    Because the river shrimp saw the otter was going to eat his children.

    Then King Solomon gave them a conclusion as a judge that the mouse deer was innocent, and the guilt was charged on otter himself.

    Source


    Celtic Influence

    The celts have always revered the otter and otters can be found in a number of their tales.

    Taliesin

    ...And she went forth after him, running. And he saw her, and changed himself into a hare and fled. But she changed herself into a greyhound and turned him. And he ran towards a river, and became a fish. And she in the form of an otter-bitch chased him under the water, until he was fain to turn himself into a bird of the air. She, as a hawk, followed him and gave him no rest in the sky. And just as she was about to stoop upon him, and he was in fear of death, he espied a heap of winnowed wheat on the floor of a barn, and he dropped among the wheat, and turned himself into one of the grains. Then she transformed herself into a high-crested black hen, and went to the wheat and scratched it with her feet, and found him out and swallowed him...

    Source


    Celtic Influence

    The celts have always revered the otter and otters can be found in a number of their tales.

    The Death of Cuchulain

    ...Returning again to Muthemnie he saw three old women cooking an otter, and at their taunting approached and accepted some. But the crones were the Calatin Clan again, and Cuchulain was under geis never to approach a hearth and eat thereof, or to eat of his namesake (otter = waterdog = hound), and as he ate his arm was paralysed...

    Source


    Norse Code

    Volsunga Saga

    ...Other skill my brother Otter followed, and had another nature withal, for he was a great fisher, and above other men herein; in that he had the likeness of an otter by day, and dwelt ever in the river, and bare fish to bank in his mouth, and his prey would he ever bring to our father, and that availed him much: for the most part he kept him in his otter-gear, and then he would come home, and eat alone, and slumbering, for on the dry land he might see naught...

    Source


    Norse Code

    Reginsmal

    In Reginsmal in the Poetic Edda Ódin, Hönir and Loki are travelling together, and it is again Loki who brings the company into trouble. By slaying a dwarf, Otr, in the shape of an otter, he brings the wrath of the dwarf´s family onto the Aesir. They are forced to pay weregild for the slain dwarf, and Loki is sent away to fetch the gods´ ransom. He catches another dwarf, Andvari, and takes all his gold. The dwarf tries to hide a ring of gold, but Loki finds out and takes that too. The dwarf then lays a curse on that particular ring and leaves. When the ransom is paid, the Aesir are free to go.

    Source


    Aboriginal Mythology

    The aborigine tales are centred around the Trickster, but the otter sometimes figure.

    Trickster

    In one tale from the Southern Ute people Coyote sleeps with his own daughters by pretending to die and then return home disguised as an otter. This myth ends with the wife chasing Coyote out of the home, and the daughters flying up to the sky out of shame and becoming stars.

    Source


    Winnebago Indians

    Otter is a notable spirit in waikas (sacred stories set in the primordial past, whose ending is always a happy one)

    Waikas

    Otter once lived exclusively in the underworld with his friends, the Waterspirits. However, when the Bad Waterspirits captured the stellar spirit, Îtcohorúcika, Otter and Loon attempted to gain clemency for him. For this good deed Otter was granted the right to live on the surface of the earth.

    Otter Spirits are generally good. Two friends revealed that they were Otter Spirits when they transformed themselves into holy white otters and recovered from the river the bodies of two missing children. They then brought them back to life, and later killed the evil waterspirit that had murdered them. It was also an Otter Spirit who helped a boy to escape from the perverted attentions of his half-sister.

    Source


    Wyandot Indians

    Creation Myth

    ....The Turtle then summoned the best of the divers, the Otter, to go deep down into the waters, in search of some dirt clinging to the roots of the tree. The Otter at once went down out of sight. The animals were beginning to think that he would never come back, when, after a while, they saw him coming back through the clear waters. So exhausted was he that, reaching the surface, he opened his mouth, gasped, and down again he went, dead. The Muskrat was summoned next. He dived down and remained still longer out of sight. He failed in the same way. The Beaver was then called, being the next among the best divers. He met with the same fate as the Otter and the Muskrat.....

    Source


    Midewin Indians

    Otter is the totemic spirit of the Midewin people

    Creation Myth

    He chose to communicate with the people through an Otter, which subsequently became a sacred spirit of the Midewin. An Otter Pelt was often used thereafter as a medicine bag, which contained the sacred curing items used in the healing ritual. The Great Rabbit gave the Otter the sacred drum, rattle, and tobacco to be used in curing the sick. Through song, he related the wish of Dzhe Man'ido (Good Spirit), that the original people be spared from hunger and have long and comfortable lives. The Great Rabbit conferred upon the Otter the secrets and mysteries of the Midewin, and with his Medicine bag "shot" the sacred mi'gis into the body of the Otter. The mi'gis was a white shell that was sacred to the Midewin, and the Otter, having been 'shot' at with it gained immortality and the ability to pass on the secrets of the Midewin to the A-nish'-in-a'-beg, the original people.

    Source